« PředchozíPokračovat »
ed with the public welfare. Your rights and liberties decidedly fecured, my conduct fhall notoriouДy convince the venal infidel, that a wish to confirm the induftrious happinefs of the humbleft individual, and the confequent reward of conscious virtue, were the fole motives that
influenced my ambition and hopes, and which, infeparably connected with that cement of hu man happiness, the moft liberal indulgence in points of faith, are the determined principles of, Gentlemen, your moft obedient fervant,
THE LIFE OF JOHN CLEIVELAND.
BY THE RIGHT REVEREND DR. PERCY, LORD BISHOP OF DROMORE.
JOHN CLEIVELAND, a noted loyalift and popular poet in the reign of King Charles I. was fon of the Rev. Thomas Cleiveland, M. A. fome time vicar of Hinckley, and rector of Stoke, in the county of Leicefter*. John, who was his eldest fon, was born in 1613, at Loughborough, where his father was then affiftant to the rector; but he was educated at Hinckley, under the Rev. Richard Vynes, a man of genius and learning, who was afterwards as much diftinguished among the Prefbyterian party, as his fcholar was among the Cavalierst. In his fifteenth year our poet
was removed to Cambridge, and admitted of Chrift's College, the 4th of September, 1627, where he took the degree of Bachelor of Arts in 1631. He was thence tranfplanted to the fifter foundation of St. John's College, in the fame university, of which he was elected fellow on the 27th of March, 1634, and proceeded to the degree of Master of Arts in 1635. Of this fociety he continued many years a prỉncipal ornament, being one of the tutors, and highly refpected by his pupils, fome of whom afterwards attained to eminence. By the ftatutes of that college, he fhould have taken holy
*Of this Thomas Cleiveland, M. A. we have the following eulogium in Walker's Sufferings of the Clergy:- -"He was a very great fufferer [for epifcopacy, &c.] was father to the famous John Cleaveland the poet, and had, at the time of his fequeftration, nine [eight] children (feveral of which, befides the poet, were fufferers alfo); but how many of them were then provided for, I know not. He was difpoffeft by the Committee of Leicester, died in October, 1652, and was a very worthy perfon, and of a molt exemplary life."
He was of an ancient family in Yorkshire, that derived their name from that tract of country' in the North-Riding which is still called Cleveland, wherein they had formerly large poffeffions, as may be seen in Dr. Nafh's Hiftory of Worcestershire, 1782, fol. and in Nichols's Hiftory of Hinckley, 1783, 4to. where their genealogy is inferted at large. One of the poet Cleiveland's brothers, Jofeph, had iffue, which fettling in Liverpool, acquired there a large fortune; and two of this family reprefented that borough in parliament, viz. John Cleiveland, Efq. (fon of Jofeph) in 1710, and William Cleiveland, Efq. his fon, in 1722. Another of the poet's brothers, William, was rector of Oldbury and Quat, near Bridgenorth, in Shropshire, and dying in 1666, left a fon, who was grandfather of the Rev. William Cleiveland, M. A. now rector of All-Saints parish in Worcefter; and four daughters, whereof the youngest was grandmother of Dr. Percy, the prefent Bishop of Dromore, in Ireland.- -A fifter of their's, Elizabeth, married Mr. William Iliff, of Hinckley, from whom are defcended a refpectable family, to which, by marriage, is allied the ingenious author of the liftory of Hinckley above-mentioned: a work to which this article is indebted for many curious particulars.
+ David Lloyd, in his Memoirs, tells us, that Cleiveland owed "the heaving of his natural fancy, by choiceft elegancies in Greek and Latin, more elegantly Englished (an exercise he improved much by) to Mr. Vines, there fchool-mafter.”
Of this learned perfon, who was afterwards one of the Affembly of Divines, the reader will find a particular account in the Hiftory of Hinckley, fo often quoted.
One of thefe, John Lake, D. D. fometime Fellow of St. John's College, Cambridge, had, "before he was complete thirteen years of age, been committed there to the tuition of the famous Mr. Cleiveland, for whofe memory he always retained a great reverence;" and under whofe inftructions he fo far profited, that he became fucceffively Vicar of Leeds, and Bishop of Man, Briftol, and Chichester. "He and his friend Dr. [Samuel] Drake, Vicar of Pontefract," who had been Fellow of St. John's College, and borne arms in the garrifon at Newark, collected their tutor's compofitions into one volume, which they intitled "Cleivelandi Vindiciae, or Cleiveland's genuine Poems, Orations, Epiftles, &c. purged from the many false and fpurious ones, &c. Lond. 1677, 8vo." Prefixing to it his lite and parentalia, and a dedication (figned with the initials of
orders within fix years after his being elected fellow but he was admitted on the law line (as the phrafe there is) and afterwards on that of phyfic, which excufed him from complying with this obligation; though it does not appear that he made either law or phyfic his profeffion; for remaining at college, he became the rhetoric reader there, and was ufually employed by the fociety in compofing their fpeeches and epiftles to eminent perfons* (of which fpecimens may be feen in his works) being in high repute, at that time, for the purity and terfeness of his Latin ftyle. He alfo became celebrated for his occafional poems in English, and, at the breaking out of the civil wars, is faid to have been the firft champion that appeared in verfe for the royal caufe; which he alfo fupported by all his perfonal influence: particularly by exerting his intereft in the town of Cambridge, to prevent Oliver Cromwell (then an obfcure candidate, but ftrongly fupported by the Puritan party) from being elected one of its members. Cromwell's ftronger genius in this, as in every other pur
fuit, prevailing, Cleiveland is faid to have fhown great difcernment, by predicting, at fo early a period, the fatal confequences that long after enfued to the cause of royalty t. The parliament party carrying all before them in the eastern counties, Cleiveland retired to the royal army, and with it to the King's-head quarters at Oxford, where he was much admired and careffed for his fatyrical poems on the oppofite faction, efpecially for his fatire on the Scottish covenanters, entitled, The Rebel Scott. In his abfence he was deprived of his fellowship, the 13th of February, 1644, by the Earl of Manchefter, who, under the authority of an ordinance of parliament for regulating and reforming the Univerfity of Cambridge, ejected fuch fellows of colleges, &c. as refufed to take the folemn league and covenant. From Oxford Cleiveland was appointed to be judge-advocate in the garrifon at Newark, under Sir Richard Willis the governour, and has been commended for his fkilful and upright conduct in this difficult office, where he alfo diftinguished his pen occafionally, by returning
their names, J. L. and S. D. to Francis Turner, D. D. then Mafter of St. John's-College, but afterwards fucceffively Bishop of Rochester and Ely, who is believed to have been a pupil of Cleive
*One of thefe was fpoken before the King (Charles I.) and his fon, the Prince of Wales, at St. John's College, in Cambridge: with which the King was fo well pleafed, that after it was over, his Majefty called for him, and (with great expreflions of kindnefs) gave him his hand to kifs, and commanded a copy to be fent after him to Huntingdon, whither he was haftening that night." This, according to Winftanley, was in 1642. But a MS. dates it in 1641.
+ For this fact we are indebted to the authors of his life, prefixed to his works, in 1677, who having obferved, that "no man had more fagacious prognofticks," tell us, that after the election was over, Cleiveland faid, "with much pailionate zeal, That fingle vote had ruined both church and kingdom." Whence it should feem, that Cromwell gained his feat in parliament by the majority of one vote only.
The fame writers mention another inftance of his being "Vates in the whole import of the word, both poet and prophet." When the King withdrew from Oxford, and furrendered himself to the Scots army, upon fome private intelligence three days before the King reached them, Cleiveland forefaw the pieces of filver paying upon the banks of Tweed, and that they were the price of his fovereign's blood, and predicted the tragical events."
Cleiveland had been before at Oxford, in the year 1637, and was then incorporated Mafter of Arts, with feveral other Cambridge men. But now his farcaftic attacks on the oppofite party would make him exceedingly popular there, efpecially the fatire above-mentioned. Of which we have the following proof: while he was now at Oxford he had his portrait painted by Fuller (a threequarter's length, now in poffeffion of his great-nephew, the Bishop of Dromore) wherein he is drawn holding a paper, infcribed The Rebel Scot. An engraving from it is prefixed to the feventh volume of Nichols's "Select Collection of Mifcellany Poems, 1781," 12mo. where feveral of Cleiveland's poems are reprinted.
"His next ftage was the garrifon of Newark, where he was judge-advocate, until the furrender and by an excellent temperature of both, was a juft and prudent judge for the King, and a faithful advocate for the country."
The Bishop of Dromore has in his poffeffion an authentic copy of the commiffion (figned by King Charles I. with his own band) dated at "our Court at Newarke," 12th October, 1645, by which Sir Richard Willis the governor, and other commiffioners therein mentioned, are empowered
returning fmart anfwers to the fummons, and other addreffes to the garrifon. Newark, after holding out the laft of all the royal fortreffes, was at length, in 1646, by the exprefs command of the King (then a prifoner in the Scots army) furrendered upon terms, which left Cleiveland in poffeffion of his liberty*, but deftitute of all means of fupport, excepting what
he derived from the hofpitality and generofity of his brother loyalifts, among whom he lived up and down fome years, obfcure and unnoticed by the ruling party, till in November, 1655, he was feifed at Norwich, as "a perfon of great abilities," adverfe and dangerous to the reigning government+; and being fent to Yarmouth, he was there imprifoned for fome time,
to punish all offences committed by the foldiers, and to determine all differences between them and the countrymen by martial law.
A particular reafon for fixing Cleiveland in the garrifon at Newark has been produced by the ingenious and diligent hiftorian of Hinckley, from a periodical publication of the oppofite party, intitled, “The Kingdomes Weekly Intelligencer," No. 101, p. 811, for Tuesday, 27 May, 1645. "But to speak fomething of our friend Cleiveland, that grand malignant of Cambridge, we heare that he is now at Newarke, where he hath the title of advocate put upon him. His office and employment is, to gather all the colledge rents within the power of the King's forces in those parts, which he diftributes to fuch as are turned out of their fellowships at Cambridge for their malignancie. If the royal party be thus careful to fupplie their friends, fure it is neceffary to take fome courfe to relieve thofe who are turned out of their houfes and livings for adhering to the parliament."From a collection of old pamphlets and journals during the great rebellion between 1639 and 1660, and forted by Mr. Carte, in Sir John Hinde Cotton's library at Madingley, near Cambridge.
* On the occafion of this furrender, a late periodical critic has given us a remarkable story, which is thus introduced: Mr. Granger fays, that Cleaveland never was in holy orders; Lloyd tells us, that he was fellow of St. John's, and that he was turned out of his fellowship. Be that as it will, his famous fatire against the Scotch rendered him extremely obnoxious to that nation, and he happened to be taken prifoner by a party of their troops in the north, commanded by David Lesley, afterwards Lord Newark. Being difcovered by the papers he had about him, the officers who took him gave him an affurance of the gallows, and Cleaveland received the news with that magnanimity and pride which is the concomitant of great felf-confequence; for he confoled himfelf with the thoughts of dying a martyr in the cause of his fovereign," and having his name tranfmitted to posterity with peculiar encomiums in the annals of loyalty. He was introduced, with fome other prifoners, to Lefley, who could neither read nor write, and who awarded to each his proper fate, by hanging, whipping, or imprifoning. When it came to be Cleaveland's turn, he prefented himself at the bar with a confcious dignity, and his enemies did not fail to aggravate his offences, producing at the fame time a bundle of verses. Is this all (faid the general) ye have to charge him with? For fhame, for fhame! let the poor fellow go about his bufinefs, and fell his ballads.' This contemptuous flight affected Cleaveland fo much, that he is faid to have drowned the remembrance of it in ftrong liquors, which haftened his death. It appears, however, by Thurloe's papers, that Cleaveland was a person of note amongst the royalifts, and that he had a place of fome confequence in their army."
As this article was attributed to a countryman of Lesley's, fhall we fuppofe that he took this method to be revenged on the author of The Rebel Scot?--It is ftrange, however, that quoting Thurloe, he fhould not have obferved that Cleiveland was nine years after the furrender of Newark poffeffed of fo much health and vigour, as to alarm the adverfe government: being at laft cut off by an epidemical difeafe, after he had a dozen years furvived this pretended fuicide of himself by Strong liquors.
+We have the following heads of his examination preferved in Thurloe's State Papers, 1742, fol. vol. iv. page 185:
Major-General Haynes, &c. to the President of the Council.
66 May it please your Lordship,
"IN obfervance to the orders of his Highnefs and Council, fent unto us, We have this day fent to the garrifon of Yarmouth one John Cleveland, of Norwich, late judge-advocate at Newark, who we have deemed to be comprized within the fecond head.
"The reafons of judgement are:-1. He confeffeth, that about a year fince he came from London to the city of Norwich, and giveth no account of any business he hath there, only he pretends, that Edward Cooke, Efq. maketh ufe of him to help him in his ftudies.
"2. Mr. Cleveland confeffeth, that he hath lived in Mr. Cooke's houfe ever fince he came to the faid city; and that he but feldom went into the city, and never but once into the country. Indeed, his privacy has been fuch, that none, or but few, fave Papifts, or Cavileeres, did know that there was any fuch perfon refident in these parts.
3. For that the place of the faid Mr. Cleveland his abode, viz. the faid Mr. Cooke's, is a family of notorious diforder, and where Papifts, delinquents, and other difaffected perfons of the late King's party do often refort, more than to any family in the faid city or county of Norfolk, as is commonly reported.
till he fent a petition to the Lord Protector, wherein the addrefs of the writer hath been much admired, who, while he honeftly avows his principles,
has recourfe to fuch moving topics, as might foothe his oppreffor, and procure his enlargement*: in which he was not difappointed, for the Pro
4. Mr. Cleveland liveth in a genteel garbe; yet he confeffeth that he hath no estate but 201. per annum allowed by two gentlemen, and 30l. per annum by the faid Mr. Cooke.
5. Mr. Cleveland is a perfon of great abilities, and fo able to do the greater differvice: all which we humbly fubmit, and remain your honour's
Norwich, Nov. 10, 1655.
truly humble fervants,
*This Lloyd feems to hint was a fingular inftance, and therefore the greater compliment paid to the petitioner. His words are (fpeaking of the petition)" the only thing that ever I heard wrought upon him, that had been too hard for all fwords."
The reader will, probably, not be difpleafed to fee a compofition of fo delicate a nature, yet sq fuccefsful in its effect; it is therefore fubjoined here at length:
"May it please your Highness,
"RULERS, within the circle of their government, have a claim to that which is faid of the Deity, They have their center every where, and their circumference no where.' It is in this confidence that I addrefs to your Highnefs, knowing that no place in the nation is fo remote, as not to share in the ubiquity of your care; no prifon fo close, as to fhut me up from partaking of your influence. My Lord, it is my misfortune, that after ten years retirement from being engaged in the differences of the ftate, having wound up myfelf in private recefs, and my comportment to the public fo inoffenfive, that in all this time neither fears nor jealoufies have fcrupled at my actions; being about three months fince at Norwich, I was fetched by a guard before the commiffioners, and fent prifoner to Yarmouth; and if it be not a new offence to make an enquiry wherein I offended (for hitherto my fault was kept as close as my perfon) I am induced to believe, that, next to my adherence to the royal party, the caufe of my confinement is the narrowness of my eftate; for none ftand committed, whofe eftate can bail them. I only am the prifoner, who have no acres to be my hoftage. Now, if my poverty be criminal (with reverence be it fpoken) I implead your highnefs, whofe victorious arms have reduced me to it, as acceffory to my guilt. Let it fuffice, my lord, that the calamity of the war hath made us poor; do not punifh us for it! Who ever did penance for, being ravished? Is it not enough that we are ftript fo bare, but it must be made in order to a feverer lafh! muit our fores be engraven with our wounds? muft we first be made cripples, and then beaten with our own crutches? Poverty, if it be a fault, 'tis its own punishment; who pays more for it, pays ufe upon ufe. I befeech your Highnefs put fome. bounds to the overthrow, and do not purfue the chace to the other world. Can your thunder be levelled fo low as our groveling condition? Can your towering fpirit, which hath quarried upon kingdoms, make a ftoop at us, who are the rubbish of thefe ruins? Methinks I hear your former atchievements interceding with you, not to fully your glories with trampling upon the proftrate, nor clog the wheel of your chariot with fo degenerous a triumph. The most renowned heroes have ever with fuch tendernefs cherished their captives, that their fwords did but cut out work for their courtefies. Thofe that fell by their prowefs, iprung by their favour, as if they had ftruck them down only to make them rebound the higher. I hope your Highnefs, as you are the rival of their fame, will be no lefs of their virtues. The nobleft trophy that you can erect to your honour is to raife the afflicted. And fince you have fubdued all oppofition, it now remains, that you attack yourself, and with acts of mildnefs vanquish your victory. It is not long fince, my lord, that you knocked off the fhackles from most of our party, and, by a grand releafe, did fpread your clemency as far as your territories. Let not new profcriptions interrupt your jubilee. Let not that. your lenity be flandered as the ambush of your further rigour. For the fervice of his Majefty (if it be objected) I am fo far from excufing it, that I am ready to alledge it in my vindication. I cannot conceit that my fidelity to my prince fhould taint me in your opinion: I fhould rather expect it fhould recom mend me to your favour: had we not been faithful to our King, we could not have given ourselves to be fo to your Highnefs; you had then trufted us gratis, whereas now we have our former loyalty to vouch us. You fee, my lord, how much I prefume upon the greatnefs of your fpirit, that dare prevent my indictment with fo frank a confeffion, especially in this which I may fo fafely deny, that it is almoft arrogancy in me to own it; for the truth is, I was not qualified enough to ferve him; all I could do was, to bear a part in his fufferings, and give myself to be crushed with his fall. Thus my charge is doubled; my obedience to my fovereign, and what is the result of that, my want of fortune. Now, whatever reflection I have upon the former, I am a true penitent for the latter. My Lord, you fee my crimes; as to my defence, you bear it about you. I fhall plead nothing in my juftification, but your Highnefs's clemency, which, as it is the conftant inmate of a valiant breaft, if you graciously be pleafed to extend it to your fuppliant, in taking me out of this withering durance, your Highness will find that mercy will eftablish you more than power; though all the days of your life were as pregnant with victories as your twice aufpicious 3d of Sep(tember. Your Highnefs's humble and fubmiffive petitioner, J. CLEIVELAND."
tector generoufly fet him at liberty, difdaining to remember on the throne the oppofition he had received in his canvas for parliament as a private burgefs. Cleiveland thence retired to London, where he is faid to have found a generous Mecenas, and being much admired among all perfons of his own party, became member of a club of wits and loyalifts, which Butler, the author of Hudibras, alfo frequented*. Cleiveland then lived in chambers at Gray's-Inn (of which Butler is faid to have been a member) and being feifed with an epidemic intermitting fever, died there on Thursday morning, the 29th of April, 1658. His friends paid the laft honours to his remains by a fplendid funeral: for his body was removed to Hunfdonhouse, and thence carried for interment, on Saturday, the 1ft of May, to the parish church of St. Michael Royal, on College-hill, London +, followed by a numerous attendance of perfons eminent for their loyalty or learning: to whom his funeral fermon was preached by his intimate friend Dr. John Pearfon, afterwards Bifhop of Chester, author of the learned Expofition of the Creedt.
another too much neglected." Both his fubjects, and his manner of writing, made his poems extremely popular among his contemporaries, but entirely forgotten and difregarded fince. For his manner, he excelled among that clafs of writers, fo much admired in the laft century, whom our great critic has aptly termed "Metaphyfical Poets," who abound with witty rather than juft thoughts, with far-fetched conceits, and learned allufions, that only amufe for a moment, utterly neglecting that beautiful fimplicity and propriety which will intereft and please through every age. For his fubjects he generally chofe the party difputes of the day, which now are no longer understood or regarded. Contemporary with Milton, he was in his time exceedingly preferred before him; and Milton's own nephew tells us, he was by fome efteemed the best of the English poets. But Cleiveland is now funk into oblivion, while Milton's fame is univerfally diffufed. Yet Milton's works could, with dificulty, gain admiffion to the prefs, at the time when it was pouring forth thofe of Cleiveland in innumerable impreffions. But behold the difference! The prefs now continually teems with re-publications of the Paradife Loft, &c. whereas the last edition of Cieiveland's Works was in 8vo. 1687. D
*Butler was a great admirer of Cleiveland's wit; and has copied many of his images and thoughts into his celebrated poem above-mentioned. The learned and ingenious Dr. Farmer has in his poffeffion a copy of Cleiveland poems, in which he has marked many paflages that have been imitated in Hudibras. From this judicious critic a more complete commentary of that mockheroic poem could be given than the world has yet feen.
The church of St. Michael Royal, commonly called College-Hill (becaufe WhitingtonCollege food there)" was about that time the receptacle of the laft remains of feveral eminent loyalists, as we are informed by A. Wood, in the paffage referred to. It was deftroyed in the fire, 1666.
"Dr. John Pearfon, his good friend, preached his funeral fermon; who rendered this reafon, why he cautiously declined all commending of the party deceafed, becaufe fuch prayfing of him would not be adequate to any expectation in that audience; feeing fome, who knew him not, would think it far above him, while thofe who knew him must know it far below him."
This is Edward Phillips, who, in his Theatrum Poetarum, or Complete Collection of the Poets, 1675, 12mo. has the following article:
"John Cleaveland, a notable high-foaring witty loyalist of Cambridge, whofe verfes, in the time of the civil war, begun to be in great request, both for their wit and zeal to the King's caufe, for which indeed he appeared the first, if not only, eminent champion in verfe against the prefbyterian party; but most efpecially against the Kirk and Scotch Covenant, which he profecuted with fuch a fatirical fury, that the whole nation fares the worfe for it, lying under a moit grievous poetical cenfure. In fine, fo great a man hath Cleaveland been in the estimation of the generality, in regard his conceits were out of the common road, and wittily far-fetcht, that grave men, in outward appearance, have not fpared, in my hearing, to affirm him the BEST OF ENGLISH POETS, and let them think fo ftill, who ever pleafe, provided it be made no article of faith."
This is the last and most complete edition of his works (for if there is any of later date, it is